01 March 2010

Sign My Kindle, Please

The day is soon upon us when books will become as quaint as 33 1/3 long playing records.

Someone somewhere at sometime in the not-too-distant future will want to hold a nice warm book in his hands, absorb the words on the paper, stroke the texture of the pages, inhale the musty tinge of the pulp.

Friends and family will visit him and marvel (with a bit of a silent giggle) at his row upon row of yellowed, cracked, and fusty volumes. They will eye his nostalgic clinging to a bygone era with sympathetic woefulness in the same manner we judge the senile uncle who is constantly misplacing his dentures.

Bookstores will go the way of the carriage house and the farrier. Books-A-Million, Hastings, Borders will all either close permanently, turn to other products, or will vendor only used books—have “Nostalgia Sales”.

Home bookshelves will now house bric-a-brac, electronic photo frames flashing hundreds of photos of family and friends—or remain empty—or be taken down altogether just as front yard hitching posts were pushed over.

Penguin USA ebook sales increased 300% last year. Penguin concludes that low-priced ebooks are most attractive to paperback buyers. According to Publisher's Weekly, e-book sales accounted for over $100 million in sales last year. Two years ago, sales were barely at $1 million. Makes one ponder, it does.

Saddest among the causalities will be the book signing—which, after the actual publication of the book itself, is the most rewarding event an author experiences.

No more will an author sit proudly at his table, displayed with his latest creative work; no more quick casual chit-chats with a fan who tells him how much she likes what he has written; no more cramped but happy fingers at the end of the two-hour ego-swelling book signing.

Instead, the fan will receive the prized autograph in one of two ways—perhaps both if she is an avid fan.

The first—a scrawled signature download from Amazon or the publisher or the author’s website—for a fee, of course.

The second—an actual handwritten author autograph on the front edges or the back of the Kindle or Sony e-reader—perhaps joining the signatures of other writers.

Or perhaps a slip-on cover of the book for the Kindle or Sony e-reader will come with a novel’s download. Then the author has a “Meet the Author” at an internet café or the lobby at a Wi-Fi hotel, and the avid fan will with giddy glee hand the author her electronic reader with the appropriate cover, saying, “Would you please sign my Kindle? ‘To Molly’, if you please. I’ve downloaded all your books and take them with me everywhere I go!” –Or, perhaps he sells the slip-on book covers at his table!

And with his Ultra Fine Point Sharpie in hand, the proud author presses the felt tip to the hard metallic “book” and writes, “To Molly—an avid fan—keep downloading! All the Best—Larry Mike Garmon”.

No comments:

Post a Comment